This morning I had occasion to plug my Flip HD camera into my computer (to charge the battery), and I found I had about 9 minutes of video from the 2010 National Scout Jamboree at Fort A.P. Hill. There is nothing special about the video, but it helps you get a sense of the enormity of the event.
This film shows just random scenes, either shot from the a curb watching some activities or from the window of a bus. I rode on the passenger side of the bus, so my film shows the outside edges of the campgrounds, there were literally tens of thousands more scouts on the other side of the bus in the main camping areas.
I understand there were over 40,000 scouts in attendance (including my son), and it really was an amazing sight to behold. My son’s Jamboree troop had been meeting, planning and preparing for the Jamboree for almost two years, but one of the things that struck me was The Shomer Shabbat Contingent, consisted of Orthodox Jewish scouts from the U.S., Canada and Israel that did all their planning virtually – the first time they met was a week before the Jamboree in, of all places, the Catskills. You can see their campsite at about 6:10 mark in the film (they have a large front gateway with flags from the countries the scouts in the troop are from).
You’ll also see a large tent with a long line of people waiting to enter – that was ONE of the two souvenir stores at the Jamboree, and the line was pretty constant all day long.
You’ll also see some medical tents, A LOT of porta-johns, and lots and lots of scouts, doing all manner of activities including rappelling, archery, shooting rifles, riding BMX bikes, etc. I regretfully failed to capture one of the most prominent activities at the Jamboree – patch trading. I’m not sure how I missed it, but in some parts of the campground you couldn’t go 10 feet without coming across yet another scout with a blanket spread out, with all manner of patches spread out on display for trade. Scouting doesn’t allow the boys to “sell” their patches, but they are allowed to trade for them – and trade they do! My son was able to get a complete “Star Wars” set, and everyone seemed to be looking for the elusive “HALO” Set of patches (on the right).
Attending Jamboree is, for most scouts, a once in a lifetime opportunity – they are typically held every four years, a scout must have achieved the rank of First Class to attend, and no scouts can attend after their 18th birthday, except as an adult leader or staff member at the event. Happily, the next Jamboree is in three years (they held back on this Jamboree so it could coincide with the 100th Anniversary of Scouting in America), and my son has every intention of attending the 2013 Jamboree at The Summit Bechtel Family National Scouting Reserve in West Virginia.
Mike Rowe, host of Discovery Channel’s Dirty Jobs, gave a wonderful speech about his scouting experience (after making a GRAND ENTRANCE in the bucket of a massive front end loader):
Many folks complained about President Obama not attending the Jamboree in-person, but I’ll be honest, I can’t imagine a better speaker than Mike Rowe on that night, for those boys. A politician – any politician – would have polarized the audience, Mike Rowe, as they say, knocked it out of the park that night.
bsajamboree.org: The Sun Sets on the 2010 National Scout Jamboree
The Jewish Week: Be Prepared … And Keep The Sabbath